Entry and exit are highly regulated and this presents barrier for a free flow essential for a cruise terminal
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari today laid the foundation stone for a new International Cruise Terminal at Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).
Spread across 400,000 sq ft, the Terminal will be constructed according to international standards at a cost of Rs3 billion (Dh173 million) to berth super-liner ships and will have facilities like shopping malls, duty-free shops, restaurants, hotels and so on. It will have a reception, check-in, immigration and security facility for over 700,000 tourists per annum. The project will be completed by December 2019 with the Port Trust handling modernisation and expansion of the terminal.
Situated at Ballard Pier, the terminal is within 5-10 minutes driving distance from various centres of India’s cultural heritage like art galleries, a national and modern museum, public buildings that are of architectural magnificence, the shopping areas of Colaba Causeway, Marine Drive as well as the iconic Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel.
Presently, the MbPT is handling cruise vessel operations at Ballard Pier extension berth which has a terminal building for this purpose. The multi-purpose berth has its limitations since it is also a custom-notified area. Entry and exit are highly regulated and this presents a barrier for a free flow essential for a cruise terminal. Moreover, it lacks the amenities to be provided as per international norms.
The new terminal, that will be upgraded and modernised, will be built on international standards to handle big size cruise vessels carrying 5,000 passengers.
Gadkari, who handles road transport, highways, shipping and water resources, said the terminal would be a boost to the economy with international tourists spending $70-$100 (Dh260-Dh367) per day for offshore excursion. It will also lead to creation of jobs for locals.
To make India an attractive cruise destination, tourists with e-visas will be exempted from biometric enrolment till December 2020. This will make immigration clearance faster, leaving passengers with more time to spend onshore.
Gadkari said 80 cruise-ships came to Mumbai in the last one year and 950 cruise ships will come in the next five years. He also informed of various projects of MbPT worth Rs65 billion. Of these projects, 27 projects are in the pipeline and will be inaugurated during the year. Sagarmala (ocean garland) project for Maharashtra is worth Rs2.41 trillion, he added.
According to the Ministry of Shipping, India’s outbound leisure tourism market is expected to cross Rs1 trillion by 2020.